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Today at The Planning Commission: Target, Plus Drama When Architects Go NIMBY on Their Neighbors

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Target: Today's the day the Planning Commission approves- or doesn't- the "change of use" to permit the "formula store" at Masonic & Geary. They're going to tackle the permitted signage issues there as well, so don't be surprised if you're heading over for whatever it is people do at Target sometime in 2012.

Battle NIMBY: Meanwhile there's NIMBY drama further south, at Eureka and 20th Streets, where architect George Hauser and another neighbor have been fighting the demolition of 309-311 Eureka Street by two sisters who want to build a 2-unit building for themselves and their partners. The c.1891 building has been in their family since 1964, and they've been working to reduce the bulk of the new structure to help preserve an old cypress on one side and overcome the objections of Mr. Hauser on the other- both the tree-owners and Hauser have filed the dreaded Discretionary Review. Hauser claims the new building will block his light, air and views- which it will- despite that when renovating his own house he signed a waiver promising to close up his then-new windows along the lot line should his owner chose to expand. Plus not object.

The Planning document makes interesting reading, with copies of emails in which Hauser by turns condescends to or cajoles his neighbors and their architect, plus lots of analysis of the various impacts. Hauser went so far as to design the building he wants the neighbors to build and attached it to his Discretionary Review; a planner subsequently reminds everyone by email that while they encourage working with neighbors, they're not required to accept the neighbor's design.

Meanwhile, the sisters went ahead and revised their original design, lowered the height, made it less modern, more traditional, won't excavate so as not to hurt the tree, and Planning Staff has recommended the Discretionary Reviews be rejected and the project approved. This has been going on since sometime in 2009. Most of the neighbors approve (see image six in the gallery) or they just don't want to spend $500 on throwing another discretionary review.
· Planning Commission Agenda (scroll down to item 19c) [SFPC]

All images via the San Francisco Planning Department